Opening Day is this week (thank goodness!) and baseball is just around the corner. With a lockout crisis barely averted, we can get back to having our summer of baseball. So who do I think will win this year?
I'm going with the Dodgers over the Blue Jays in five games. The Dodgers will get their revenge against the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, while the Blue Jays will down the Houston Astros in the ALCS. Los Angeles has overhauled their roster once again, signing Freddie Freeman and trading for Craig Kimbrel. They might've lost Max Scherzer and Corey Seager in the offseason. However, that won't matter for L.A., for the Doyers have too much depth.
As for the American League, Toronto was too good to pass up. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. headlines an explosive lineup and adding Yusei Kikuchi and Kevin Gausman makes the rotation better. On top of that, adding Matt Chapman helps the Jays both offensively and defensively. The former A's star brings a Gold Glove and power to the lineup, making Toronto even more deadly.
Who will be the other four teams that'll make the playoffs in each league? For the American League, I'm going with the New York Yankee (obviously), the Tampa Bay Rays, The Chicago White Sox, and the Seattle Mariners. That's right. The Mariners. I believe it's high time that the Emerald City gets playoff baseball back. If the lineup becomes as good as advertised, specifically with the additions of Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez and the call-up of Julio Rodriguez, the M's could take the AL West away from the Astros. Adding Cy Young winner Robbie Ray to a budding rotation will make them better.
As for my other AL playoff teams, the Yankees have so much star power with the likes of Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole. The Tampa Bay Rays have one of the better bullpens in all of baseball along with Wander Franco. The Chicago White Sox will have an explosive lineup, with Jose Abreu and Luis Robert making for a potent duo.
My other National League playoff teams consist of the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers, and Philadelphia Phillies. The Padres, Giants, and Brew Crew have starting pitching for days, so it'll be impossible to score runs on these teams. The Phils might not have the most formidable fielding in baseball, nor do they have the aforementioned pitching. But adding Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos to a lineup featuring NL MVP Bryce Harper makes them too good to pass up.
As always, I know I won't nail down my predictions 100%. However, it's always fun to watch baseball, specifically during the summertime. Here's to a fun year of memorable moments, unthinkable accomplishments, and lots of home runs!